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Scope of Police Act Review Defined

New Zealand Police National News Release
4:04pm 28 June 2006

The scope for the review and rewrite of the Police Act (1958) and Police Regulations (1992) has been defined, Police announced today.

The comprehensive review, announced by Police Minister the Hon Annette King on 7 March this year, is designed to modernise Police legislation and bring it up-to-date for the 21st Century, taking into account the different environment in which policing now occurs.

Superintendent Hamish McCardle, the officer leading the review of the Police Act, says the current Act dates from 1958 and has been amended in a piecemeal fashion more than 25 times in the past 48 years.

Following consultation with key stakeholders, officials and service organisations it has been agreed the scope of the review will explore the following central themes:

- Principles of policing - reinforcing the fundamental basis of policing

- Community engagement - policing in and with our communities

- Police powers - assigning and using Police powers

- Human resources - appointing, deploying and managing staff

- Conduct and integrity - reinforcing ethical behaviour

- Relationships and boundary issues - recognising the wide range of Police partners with complementary and different skills

- National security and emergencies - clarifying Police roles and responsibilities

- Governance and accountability - maintaining the independence of Police within a public management framework

- Administration - enabling the day-to-day work of a large 24/7 organisation

Superintendent McCardle says the goal is to redesign legislation to reflect the challenges of modern-day policing, and better position New Zealand Police for the future.

"Opportunities like this seldom come around and a task as important as this cannot be rushed," he says.

"New Zealand Police has been asked by Government to lead a two-year project to inform the development of new Police legislation, drawing in the views of other agencies and the wider community.

"During the next two years, this work will take place in a number of phases, carried out in an open and consultative way."

For more information about the review of the Act - including frequently asked questions - and regular updates please visit www.policeact.govt.nz

Why is the Police Act being reviewed?

Since 1958, the Police Act has been amended more than 25 times to try and keep pace with change.

However, the main body of the Act is grounded in the 1950s - a time when there were less than 50 civilians in Police, little specialisation beyond general duties staff in old black uniforms and the Criminal Investigation Branch wore 'pork pie' hats.

The style of policing that prevailed in 1950s New Zealand was very much 'one size fits all' when Police was essentially the only law enforcement agency. Today a myriad of public, private and volunteer agencies contribute to policing in New Zealand.

It is therefore timely to explore and better define these policing relationships, roles and boundaries (among other significant issues) and reflect these in legislation that will be the basis for a modern, future focussed New Zealand Police.


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